My first article since graduating entitled: Reflections of a black practitioner-researcher was published in the Qualitative Research in Psychology Journal. You can access a free copy to full the article by clicking on the title (enjoy reading and I welcome your views and feedback).
I shared copies with colleagues, friends and associates and received a mixture of responses that ranged from positive comments, concern, apologies for the arrogance described, etc.
The purpose of the article was twofold. I wanted to use a methodology that would create an emotive understanding of the issues faced by black women working in white male dominated organisations, while highlighting their experience in these institutions. When I use the term emotive understanding, I am talking about wanting the reader to grasp the points intellectually as well as feel and think about the issues raised. The poems used in the article achieved this, which is evident by the mixed responses I received. I made sure there was scientific rigour in my methodology and my data was presented in a way that was academically credible, to silence the critics, but could be read and understood by non academics.
When I gave my mother a copy to read, she was able to relate to it, understand it and enjoy it. But she cried in parts because she was saddened by my experience. She took a copy to work nonetheless to share with her colleagues (it’s a mother thing). My cousin Hyacinth also read and shared her copy with her colleagues and friends (this is Hyacinth with her copy).
On reflection, I feel proud that I was able to combine my academic writing with poetry to make my research accessible to a wider audience. When others said it could not be done.
When I think back to the beginning of my PhD journey when I would have discussions with my supervisors about having to write in, and I quote “pompous academic jargon”. I’m relieved I can flit between both styles of writing. And I am pleased that I was tenacious in finding a way to use poetry as data and publishing my research in this format.
My advice is this, do not be deterred when others do not agree with your ideas or share your vision. 10 years ago poetry in qualitative research was rare, but that never deterred me from writing my poems and being determined to use it as data. So follow your dreams and fulfil your passion.